Julia Cohen

 
ATTACHED TO THE SWAN COMES THE WATER
 

i.
Are you willing to wake me with your baby? To trust I won’t cut your luscious bangs as you rest?

My two children we send to the school best fitting personalities of orange sheets, newspapers smeared with coffee & glitter-recycling. Tin cans emptied of black-eyed peas & kale on the counter. Art-class kites are the chipped teeth of love.

Kids have regrets, which is the hardest thing to let them have.

Train yourself to hold your breath for the life of a mitochondrial high-rise. The nooks of our cement bookshelves nest uncapped pens & paperclips.

Hanging off the bed like a white seal, our dog’s head watches the window for unsafe shapes. A foreign tail or ominous boot. Under three blankets I sleep, reject a space-heater. We’re excavating the last light bulb. Yes, we do this. We share the same careless plants.

Leaf-eyes folding against fat glass. An ego dissolving in bathwater.

 
ii.
I want to build a house that tames worth & won’t last. The light won’t stop where we live, needles through the rafters & the gulp of. O we’re not the pleats of wood so we last.

You’re attracted to me or how you turn my body on? I’m afraid distinctions destroy me.

Our backyard licks up space like a sno-cone where we’ll feed diamond-eyed goats. The house isn’t afraid to die. Isn’t afraid to ask for leg-rubs.

Cover me in a blanket too dirty to touch the face. My face loops around the park & the dog recognizes you as you bike by. Pulls me toward your spokes. I’m looking for a life like our own.

We’ll train the goat to dig for broken egos of our unmeasured reciprocal. Exchange, the only endless lyric. So the gift won’t die on wallpaper, wilt.

 
iii.
My dead phone, my neglected ice melting in sneakers & watch the rice cook for dinner. How reassuring the starch dribbles down & stains the pot. I feel you breathing when I hold the soapy sponge. I do.

A frozen tennis ball dissolves on our bed. This is not a metaphor for love, yet love, the dirt-freckled arm crossing rafters of children, is the plant spiraling from your bangs. Location, a choice. Attraction ripples out of my vase set on the coffee table.

 
iv.
Kites hide under the cover of kale. With questions & arms kids pinwheeling toward us. Tilted paintings nobody rights. The personality of our baby? Is physical, too? Domestic fantasies exist by the liter to unblur the future of shared space. A laundry pile of love poems. Your body like a warm moon.

Without abstraction. Without without the violent couch, violent vase, violent sink, O violent & matted rug. We’ll empty the vacuum to the lyric stem, the vine that breaks the planter, water-swelling.

The backyard sways with antlers & baby teeth. Holding a dogbone graveyard, wriggle up the woodchip tree house. With latticed words lending the reciprocal bathtub.

Let’s have a watering the plants date. A find the missing mitten date. An ice-cream in bed date. A talk date. The hot shower & how you soap my spine date. A how do you know me? date.

What are we, bystanders? With paintings slipping off the wall?

Talk, attraction, date. Sleepy meals? My attractive talk, like kite tails afraid of timing. Let’s plant your luscious bangs in my chest.



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Julia Cohen is the author of Triggermoon Triggermoon (Black Lawrence Press, 2011), and her work appears in journals like jubilat, Colorado Review, DIAGRAM, and New American Writing. She is the Associate Editor of the Denver Quarterly.

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